German exchange student, 17, shot dead by Montana homeowner honored at memorial service in Hamburg
More than 500 people were attending a memorial service for a 17-year-old German exchange student who was shot dead a week ago in the United States.
Friends, family, the mayor and American diplomats on Sunday assembled at a mosque in Hamburg to wish farewell to Diren Dede, who was fatally shot in Missoula, Montana.
The coffin was put up on a table in the park of the mosque and draped with German and Turkish flags. Dede is the son of Turkish immigrants and will be buried on Monday in Bodrum, Turkey.
Germany has demanded justice following the senseless shooting.
Dede, from Hamburg, was killed when 29-year-old Markus Kaarma fired four shotgun blasts into his garage after Dede set off home intruder alarms inside. It is not clear what Dede was doing inside the garage.
Julia Reinhardt, spokesman for the German consulate in San Fransisco, said the investigation should make it clear it is illegal to kill an unarmed juvenile just because he is trespassing.
Celal Dede, the father of Diren Dede, flew out of Missoula after securing the release of Diren Dede’s body.
Before he departed, Celal Dede told the German news agency dpa that he had never imagined his son could be shot for simply entering somebody’s property.
“America cannot continue to play cowboy,” Celal Dede said.
“I didn’t think for one night that everyone here can kill somebody just because that person entered his backyard,” Dede said, adding that he would never have allowed his son into the country if he knew there was such callous disregard for human life.
Court records obtained by KPAX said Kaarma and his wife, Janelle Pflager, had set up sensors outside their garage, a video monitoring system in the garage and left the garage door open.
Pflager said she put personal items that she had cataloged in a purse in the garage ‘so that they would take it.’
Early Sunday, the sensors went off, and Kaarma and Pflager looked at the video feed and saw that someone was in the garage.
He said he did not see anyone in the darkened garage and did not communicate with anyone before sweeping the garage with four shotgun blasts. Dede was struck in the head and arm and died at a Missoula hospital, court records said.
Kaarma told police he fired high to avoid hitting the car in the garage – but court records showed that three of four shots were aimed low.
He also told investigators ‘wanted him [Dede] to be caught’ because ‘police can’t catch burglars in the act.’
Plager’s testimony shows a different version of events.
She told police she heard Kaarma say ‘Hey hey’ at the garage door and put a shell into his shotgun. She then heard someone say ‘Hey’ or ‘Wait’ right before Kaarma fired two shots. As she went to turn on lights, two more shots were fired, according to court records.
Pflager told police that they had been burglarized two times within the last three weeks, Kaarma’s attorney Paul Ryan said.
They were frustrated, on edge and felt someone in their neighborhood was watching them, Ryan said. The couple called police ‘and nothing was done,’ he said.
Pflager had made a list of the items in the purse so if it was taken she could attempt to track the thief, Ryan said. Despite the recent burglaries, they left the garage door open, prosecutors noted.